As a parent, travelling with kids can be both fun and stressful at the same time. My wife and I love to travel and with the children still very young, ages 6 and 8 years old, we are not yet comfortable leaving them with a babysitter for days or overnight. So on our trips to the cottage or to other cities, our kids will always tag along. Our friends and neighbours sometime wonder if we ever get stressed out travelling with kids often. We of course tell them that it is stressful but we are able to manage. How do we manage, you may ask? Well, like every other family we too have our bags of tricks to keep the stress under control when travelling with children. The key is mostly preparation and anticipating what can make children irritable and difficult to manage.
Here are 9 simple tips:
1. Plan your route with the children's needs in mind in addition to your own needs. Nowadays, we can google just about every location in the country to find gas stations, restaurants , rest stops and washrooms along the way. When kids get irritable it’s usually because they’re bored, impatient, hungry or have to go the bathroom badly. Knowing where the next place to stop to relieve any of the children’s tensions can be a life saver for your sanity.
2. Make sure the air conditioner is working properly. Hot and humid air is very uncomfortable and can make anyone, specially children, very irritable.
3. Bring every item you can think of to keep you children occupied while travelling. Crossword puzzles, children’s books, an Ipad or tablet loaded with movies, games, and music will keep them busy.
4. My kids always look like the cool travellers. That is because they both wear sunglasses. My wife and I noticed that when wearing sunglasses they are very calm. It must be because they don’t have to fight with the irritating glare of the sun. Whatever is the science behind it, I know it works for our kids.
5. Watch their liquid intake. Drinking too often and too much will make them constantly go to the bathroom.
6. Watch their sugar intake. Foods like cookies and candies can make them hyper.
7. If your kids are not allergic to peanuts, prepare some peanut butter sandwiches for their snack. Peanut butter has both carbohydrate and protein that make people sleepy after eating it. It sure works with our kids.
8. Make sure that when the kids are sleeping that they stay asleep and not be disturbed like falling to their seats while in the car or in the plane. Bring a travel pillow specially designed for kids.
9. Play and have fun with your kids. Nothing beats stress more than playing with kids and telling a few jokes to make the whole family laugh.
I hope my tips and tricks will help a travelling family with children and make it a little more bearable for the stressed out mom and dad out there. Have fun and safe travelling.